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First Female Train Driver in India

First Female Train Driver in India: Surekha Yadav

In a field traditionally dominated by men, Surekha Yadav etched her name in history by becoming India’s first lady loco pilot. Her remarkable journey is an evident to courage, determination and an unyielding spirit to shatter stereotypes and pave the way for gender equality. Surekha’s story serves as an inspiration to countless individuals and her legacy continue to resonate as a beacon of hope and empowerment.

Early Life and Education

Birth date: 2nd September 1965

Birthplace: Satara, Maharashtra

Surekha Yadav pursued her initial schooling at Saint Paul Convent High School. After completing her school education, she undertook vocational training and earned a Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the Government Polytechnic at Karad, Maharashtra. Her aspirations for higher education shifted when she joined the Indian Railways.

Early Career of First Female Loco Pilot

Surekha Yadav began his journey when she was selected by the Railway Recruitment Board, Mumbai, in 1987. She joined the Central Railway as a trainee assistant driver in 1986, undergoing rigorous training at the Kalyan Training School for six months. Her dedication earned her the role of a regular assistant driver in 1989.

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From Goods to Greatness

Surekha’s dedication led her to steer various types of trains. She piloted her first local goods train, numbered L-50, where she oversaw engine conditions, signals and related tasks. Her determination propelled her through the ranks, and she became a full-fledged goods train driver in 1998. In 2010, she took on the challenging role of a train driver on the Western Ghat railway line.

 Landmark Achievements

Surekha’s legacy lives on as she drove an all-women crewed train from Mumbai to Lucknow in 2021. She continued to break barriers, becoming the first woman to operate the semi-high-speed “Vande Bharat Express” in 2023.

Inspiration for gender equality

Surekha’s journey echoed a transformative shift towards gender equality in unconventional domains. Her triumph underscored the importance of equal opportunities, regardless of gender, and inspired countless women to break barriers. Her dedication resonated with aspiring women, and by 2011, 50 women locomotive drivers were inspired to join the ranks of suburban and goods train operators.

Legacy of leadership

Surekha Yadav’s influence extended beyond her professional achievements. As a role model and advocate of gender equality, she demonstrated the potential for women in male-dominated sectors.

List of Awards/ Honors Presented to India’s First Lady Train Driver

Here is the list of awards/ honors presented to India’s first lady train driver, Surekha Yadav.

S. No. Awards Year
1. Jijau Puraskar 1998
2. Women Achievers Award 2001
3. Rashtriya Mahila Aayog 2001
4. S.B.I. Platinum Jubilee Year celebrations 2003-2004
5. Sahyadri Hirkani Award 2004
6. Prerna Puraskar 2005
7. G.M. Award 2011
8. Women Achievers Award 2011
9. RWCC Best Woman Award 2013 2013

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Who is the first female train driver in India?

Surekha Yadav is the first woman from India to become a train driver and also a train driver of indigenously designed train “Vande Bharat Express”.

In which year did Surekha Yadav become India's first female train driver?

Surekha Yadav became India's first female train driver in the year 1988.

What types of trains did Surekha Yadav pilot during her career?

Surekha Yadav piloted various types of trains during her career, including local goods trains and regular goods trains. In 2010, she took on the challenging role of a train driver on the Western Ghat railway line.